Saturday, July 4, 2020

Preliminary work begins at Park District, other projects on track

November 19, 2018
<p>An empty building is pictured at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road on June 6, 2017. The building has since been demolished, and the remaining site is part of the Park District redevelopment project.</p>

An empty building is pictured at the corner of Grand River Avenue and Abbot Road on June 6, 2017. The building has since been demolished, and the remaining site is part of the Park District redevelopment project.

While Center City is putting up its exterior walls and the Hub is pouring down a concrete skeleton, the often-delayed Park District development project in downtown East Lansing is seemingly getting up and running.

On the corner of Abbot Road and Grand River Avenue, tall fabric fences surround the soon-to-be construction site, and preliminary work has already begun. A few construction workers were out last Friday clearing away debris on the site. 

East Lansing Community and Economic Development Administrator Tom Fehrenbach said Park District will begin construction after tax credits for the project are approved by the state.

The developers “are planning to submit building permits very soon, so they could begin construction as soon as sometime in December,” he said.

Three buildings are planned for the site. A hotel building and a mixed-use residential and retail structure are planned for the lots at Grand River and Abbot, while future plans include a second residential building at Evergreen Avenue and Valley Court.


Fehrenbach said winter construction could pose unique challenges, but he isn’t concerned.

“In terms of the demolition work that needs to be done on Park District, that type of work can be done in the winter. We saw that with the Center City project,” he said. “I think (winter weather) slows down processes and makes things a little more difficult to plan and execute, but certainly with the right equipment and the right experience it can be done.”

East Lansing City Council approved the original proposal for the Park District lots in June 2017, but the former and current developers did not reach an agreement regarding the Michigan Tax Credit. A revised site plan was approved by council in August 2018.

If all goes to plan this time around and construction begins on Park District in late December, there will likely be some overlap with its close neighbor, Center City.

“As the exterior shells of the building get completed on Center City and the work moves interior to the site, we’ll see less impact from that project,” Fehrenbach said. 

The majority of Center City’s exterior work is on track to be completed by January 2019; from then on, construction work will be dedicated to plumbing, electricity and other services for future tenants.

“Ultimately, that will get finished prior to the completion of the apartments, and the furnishing is the last type of activity that happens near the end of the project,” Fehrenbach said.

Businesses moving into the space might be on a different schedule than those looking to move into the apartments, depending on when leases are announced.

In addition to Target, “they’ve announced two (businesses), and I know they’re working on several others,” Fehrenbach said. “They’ll likely work with their own contractor or work with the existing Center City contractor to do the tenant improvements.” 

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